Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rainy days and Saturdays

When you think of Buffalo, you think of ... rain forests.

At least now.

The Buffalo Zoo has finally opened its newest building, a rain forest display in the middle of the facility.

I paid a visit to it this afternoon, and the place is easy to review: It's terrific.

After going through a brief visitors' area that explains something about rain forests (it's patterned after a national park in Venezuela), patrons walk through a door and enter a large atrium-like setting two stories high. There is an assortment of animals and birds around, including a couple of anteaters. Don't recall ever seeing an anteater anywhere. There are also ocelots, frogs, bats and monkeys that go with some creatures that I couldn't identify or couldn't spell.

There's a nice waterfall in the middle of it, and some of the walls are painted to resemble a rain forest to add to the effect. My wife had a brief chat with the zoo director, Donna Fernandes, who says all of the animals are learning to interact with the strangers around them. She added that the ocelots, who are nocturnal anyway, may need some extra time.

It's all pretty exotic and interesting, and it's a great way to increase year-round attendance at the Zoo. I'd bet a rain forest will seem pretty inviting when you are sitting in your house in, say, January.

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